When I took on the assignment to write about what the media has deemed “Female Viagra,” I struggled to find a way to make it relevant to an audience comprised primarily of college students.

Part of the reason why I had this struggle is my hope that there are many years before people our age have to think about taking medication–besides birth control–to do the deed.

As I had this thought, I had to remember that sex is not just a young person’s game.

More specifically, sex is not just a young man’s game.

While a list of ways younger men seem to be targeted by a multiplicity of industries–not just those related to sex–can go on and on, the point is that they aren’t the only ones who have, or want to have, sex.

Older men are still trying to “play the game” and the pharmaceutical industry has been helping them rise to the occasion for years.

This is why most of us can recognize the commercials. You know the ones I mean.

To save time, just think: matching bathtubs, pickup truck and rowing across a lake.

You get the picture.

Recently, the narrative has somewhat changed.

It goes something like this: a desirable older woman, sitting in an intimate setting, speaking sensually about a man’s struggle to get an erection.

While these commercials for erectile dysfunction may seem funny and have fostered parodies from comedians including Ellen DeGeneres, they also present women as seductresses, used to inspire treatment for male sexual struggles.

Additionally, they perpetuate the idea that sex is a man’s domain.

You may be thinking – the advertisers are just feeding into the “sex sells” concept.

Being desirable isn’t the big issue.

We live in a time when being provocative–some may say sultry–is very common.

The problem is when a woman or anyone is seen as an object. When this occurs, it’s easy to overlook their desires and needs, like a woman’s desire for sex or a woman’s need for treatment of female sexual dysfunction.

You probably can not recall ever seeing a commercial advertising medication for that, though.  

One doesn’t pop into my head as I write this piece, either.  

This is most likely because the Food and Drug Administration only recently, on Aug. 18, approved a medication that will treat female sexual dysfunction.

Compared to the 26 male sexual dysfunction medications Fortune magazine reports are already on the market, Flibanserin, to be marketed as Addyi, is the first of its kind. Viagra, on the other hand, celebrated the 15th anniversary of its FDA approval back in 2013.

That said, Flibanserin does not work like Viagra.

According to an article published Aug. 18 in The Guardian, the little pink pill works more like an antidepressant. Its effects have more to do with brain chemistry, while erectile dysfunction drugs often deal with increases in blood flow. Moreover, like most birth control pills, Flibanserin is to be taken daily, which contrasts with E.D. pills that are taken right before sexual activity.

And, while the drug’s approval is a victory – albeit a small one – for the up to one in 10 women, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the creators of the drug, say are affected by sexual dysfunction, there are health concerns. Side effects include loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, etc.

Overall, it’s better late than never for “Female Viagra’s” approval. Even if it is a bit crazy that up until last month, Hillary Clinton was more likely to win the presidency than be prescribed an FDA approved medication to treat a female’s inability to enjoy adult naptime.

Hopefully, Flibanserin will change a health industry that has – based on the number of E.D. medication commercials alone –  been more focused on giving men the opportunity to partake in bow-chick-a-wow-wow and less on women being ready for Netflix and chill.

The bottom line is, women – yes, even women of a certain age – want to have sex, even if the media makes it seem like men are more inclined to desire intercourse. It only seems fair women have as many options to boost sexual desire and performance as men do.

I know it may be hard to think of growing old and dealing with any type of health issues, especially those pertaining to sex, as we try to figure out how not to buy required textbooks and how to fit coffee breaks in between classes.

But it’s a fact of life.

One day we will get older and these things will be more important to us.

And, if we ever do face a sexual struggle, whether we are male or female, it’ll be important for us to not feel alone. 

We will want to know the health industry has our backs and will provide several safe options for us to choose from.

Charis Pannell is a senior journalism major and may be reached at charispannell94@gmail.com.

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